Your Own Network

Sun's Jini system will soon help all your gadgets work together. Here's how to get started

For decades now, technologists have conjured futuristic visions of the "smart home," whose every appliance leaps to attention at your command: finding and dialing the number you request, diagnosing that ping in your car, displaying the recipe you choose, deciding which ingredients you're missing and ordering them for instant delivery from the grocer. What's more, each machine would borrow the computing power it needs on a moment-to-moment basis by accessing a wider network via wireless signal, without the annoyance of the endless peripherals yoked to today's desktop PCs.

That vision, called "distributed" or "ubiquitous" computing, is suddenly getting very real....

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